Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

New street signs in Duncan in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional native names on signs

Seven streets in Duncan’s downtown core will soon be getting Hul’q’umi’num names on their street signs, in addition to their English names.

The City of Duncan’s council approved the Hul’q’umi’num Signage Project, an initiative coordinated by the Downtown Duncan BIA, Cowichan Tribes and the City, unanimously at its meeting on Jan. 18.

Between June and December of 2019, the DDBIA formed a special committee with Cowichan Tribes and engaged in a consultation process to come up with Hul’q’umi’num names for the seven streets.

RELATED STORY: EVERYONE SHOULD LEARN A LITTLE HUL’Q’UMI’NUM, ELDER TELLS DUNCAN COUNCIL

The Hul’q’umi’num names for the selected streets include Yuwen (First) Shelh for First Street, Sxwuts’ts’ulii (Hummingbird) Shelh for Second Street, Smuyuqw’a (Ladybug) Shelh for Third Street, Thuthiqut (Forest) Shelh for Fourth Street, St s’hwulmuhw (First People) Shelh for Government Street, Liloot (Train) Shelh for Station Street, and Q’lhan (Front, Ahead Of) Shelh for Canada Avenue.

Each Hul’q’umi’num name is intended to honour the English street name, or was chosen for the significance of the Hul’q’umi’num word in Cowichan culture.

A report by the DDBIA said that, for instance, Liloot (Train) was proposed for Station Street in honour of the railway station located at the end of that street, in recognition of the role the railroad played in Duncan’s early development.

In cases where more direct translations were debated, alternative names were picked.

For instance, Smuyuqw’a (Ladybug) was chosen for its significance in Cowichan storytelling.

Street names associated with individuals such as Kenneth, Ingram and Duncan streets were not selected for bilingual signage out of respect for the families of those people.

RELATED STORY: THE MORE WE WORK TOGETHER: HUL’Q’UMI’NUM WORD OF THE WEEK PROGRAM LAUNCHED

The project began in 2019 when its three partners applied for a grant from the province’s Rural Dividend grant fund.

This grant application included many possible projects, including the installation of Hul’q’umi’num street signage in downtown Duncan, and the deadline to complete all the projects associated with this funding from the province is March 21.

There will be no costs to the City of Duncan related to the new signage.

Amanda Vance, executive director of the DDBIA, said in her report to council that the goal of the project is to beautify downtown Duncan in an inclusive way, honouring Cowichan Tribes’ language and heritage with signs that are also interesting and attractive to locals and visitors alike.

She said the business organization believes the project has the potential to promote downtown Duncan nationally in a positive light, while also paving the way for a revitalization of the community following the challenges of 2020.

“The success of this project will strengthen the existing friendship between Cowichan Tribes, the City of Duncan, and the downtown business community, offering good news at a time when the power of positivity is much needed to build community and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Vance said.

“Given recent statements by Cowichan leadership about instances of racism that Cowichan Tribes members have recently experienced, we hope that this project and proposal can contribute to a learning experience and moment of connection for all partners and the wider community.”

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN VALLEY LEADERS CONDEMN COVID-RELATED RACISM

Coun. Tom Duncan said he can’t think of a more appropriate time for the project to be brought forward.

“It shows we’re doing our best to work together in regards to the things we have seen recently,” he said.

Coun. Garry Bruce said he was not enthusiastic about the project at first, but after hearing from members of Cowichan Tribes about what it means to them, he’s in support of the signage initiative.

“Thank you for having patience for a guy like me,” he said.

Coun. Stacy Middlemiss agreed that the project is a good start in bringing the community together.

“It helps us remember the language that was stolen from them [Cowichan Tribes], and it says to them that not only is it OK to speak the language, but that we encourage it.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

municipal politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Duncan Christian’s Grace George lines up a shot during the three-point portion of the BC School Sports Pandemic Basketball Challenge after taking a pass from Cam Stevens. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan Christian leads the way in pandemic basketball challenge

School tops participation numbers for second time this year

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

‘It was a great week for Jan Pullinger, MLA. She accompanied Andrew Petter, the new Minister of Health to Lake Cowichan. He credited her with saving the Youbou mill. Left to right, Jan, Petter and Sam Beldessi, president of the Cowichan Seniors. Pullinger and Petter were visiting the Seniors’ Centre.’ (Lake News, March 6, 1996)
Lake Flashback: A new library, Peewee sports, and a resignation

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Pedestrians have rights to use highways

A highway is not the exclusive domain of drivers.

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has stepped up, in spite of COVID, for a number of charities. (Submitted)
Sahtlam firefighters step up

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has a long history of supporting charities

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Most Read